if there were ever 'ideal' cross weather, that is what the conditions were today in Karlsruhe. Cold, damp so moist air that you could almost cut it with a knife, with weeks worth of precipitation softening up the ground. The venue was awesome with a big hill in the middle where one could spectate the whole race from the single vantage point. The course had power sections, up and down and many other varibles with little place to rest. The sand pit was some of the deepest heaviest sand I have ever encountered, wreaking havoc on many.
After a way cool ride on trails with Big Wheel brothers Michael and Justin in the Pfalz the day before, we met up with Basti, Holger and some others for 40 mins of doing circles on grass. I pre-rode with Holger and I have to say his techniques for 'surfing' his singloe fixed cross bike was very impressive - too bad there were no points for style, Holger would have won with those skids and white Sidi's...
Not sure what to expect from the 30+ field, Justin and myself took up spots in the 2nd row. Waiting for your typical sprint at the start, the slow roll off took me be surprise, so I quickly nabbed the hole-shot and ran with it. Not punching too hard, I still strung the field out and quickly made a selection of three riders off the front.
But it felt like I was missing just a tick of speed and could not quite dig in all the way. So one slipped by and rode away. My brakes sucked and I rode timid to put it nicely on the descents, kind of bummed I did not go for it more in the early going. As the race progressed so did my confidence, able later in the going to take faster more aggressive lines.
The third guy wanted my spot, and even took it for half of a lap, but a bobble in the sand trap and I had it back and from there opened the gap. Late in the race I caught Michael to put him down a lap, but he slugged it out. His converted road Schwinn Paramount looked pretty cool, but probably was serving him well on the very slick, steep off-camber sections doted around the course.
A mechanical took Holger out, or so he claims... Justin wasn't that far behind me in the end, something like 6th or 8th. Good race, lots of fun. It will be one we come back to for sure. Next weekend: Rosenheim.